Choosing the correct domain names is crucial if you want to get a good ranking in search engines nowadays. Typically, a domain name is considered “good” if it contains the keywords targeted by the company – but recent changes in Google’s algorithm means that this rule is no longer absolute, so what do you do next? In this article, we’ll talk about how to select your best domain names that will rank better than on-the-spot keyword-based websites.
Keywords versus Branding
Keyword-centered domain names typically get better rankings when it comes to searches because they contain the exact phrase other people are using. For example, “NaturalShampoo.Com” can rank high for people who are searching for natural bath products. If you happen to be a seller of different brands of all-natural shampoo, then this domain name would be perfect.
However, recent Google changes have also placed emphasis on branding. This means choosing a domain name that defines your company, regardless of the keyword. Following the original example, “NaturalShampoo.com” can be called “NatashaNaturals.com” as a branding system. The great thing about marketing for branding is that people are more likely to remember your website – therefore allowing them to come back for more. Generic, keyword-based domains are typically “discovered” after a search engine search.
Choosing a Common Ground
Now the question is – should you opt for a keyword-based domain or a brand-centered one? Studies have shown that it’s possible to find a middle ground wherein you can insert a keyword plus the brand you want to be known for. In the example above, using “Natasha Naturals” may be enough, but other combinations like “Natasha Organic Shampoo” is also an option. This allows you to cover all bases, giving your domain a better chance of surviving against the competition.
The great thing about branding is that this makes it easier for you to differentiate yourself against the competition. Domains with the name “DivorceLawyers.Com” would be hard to distinguish from “DivorceAttorneys.Com”, but the name “MartinsFamilyLaw.Com” may offer a more memorable sound. Keep in mind that there is lots of competition out there – hence the need to present something that makes it easier for you to be distinguished.
Are You Local?
If you’re local, it’s usually a good idea to include the name of your serviced area within the domain name. For example, New York Law Firms may use “NYDivorceAttorneys.Com” as their domain name to get more targeted search results. This way, only the people located in New York City can actually seek out their company.
Single word domains are practically useless. In order for you to fully grab the attention of the target market as well as search engines would be to opt for multi-worded domains. Around 2 to 4 would be good, giving you enough creative license for the task. Note though that words themselves should be kept short, using only a handful of characters if necessary. Studies show that the best domain names typically have 9 characters but considering the competition, this might be too little. Around 15 might still work, but the rule here is: less is more. Some domains also try combining two different words, creating a brand new one that makes them stand out from the rest.
Make it Easy to Say
Avoid domain names with numbers or characters since this can cause confusion for most users. You need something that can be easily spread by word of mouth and therefore doesn’t require any visual explanations on how to type the domain in the address bar. Don’t forget that the ease of typing out the domain name also counts. Ideally, letters like “z, y, q, x” should be avoided because they’re not something people normally type into the keyboard. Of course, some companies use these very letters to bring forth an “edgy” feel for their domain. At the end of the day, this really depends on the kind of product/service you’re selling.
Of course, don’t forget to do some basic research when it comes to domains. The goal is to find keywords that are being searched by the target market but not too much that there’s excessive competition over it. There are currently numerous tools that can help you with this, Google AdWords being one of the top few.
The “.com” domain ending is usually best because this is what many users have gotten used to. In fact, searchers usually end domain names with “.com” believing that it’s the only type there is. Hence, as much as possible, opt for a “.com” name – unless of course, you’re targeting a very specific area or servicing a targeted market. Some businesses catering within the UK utilize the “co.uk” ending which ensures that their target market finds them.
This is crucial – you don’t want your domain killed just because you had no idea something else along the same lines already existed. Use Copyright.Gov to check the legibility of your domain name choice before buying. This way, you can build your domain as much as you want without worrying about any repercussions.
By ‘help’, we mean finding websites that can make it easier for you to find, mix, and match different words to make a catchy sounding domain name. There are actually lots of those today including NameStation, Domain Pigeon, DomainR, and DomainTyper. All of these can help you find other domains and see if your current favorite has already been used and which domains are still available.
You can also try buying expired domains – many of them are currently available and may fall within your favored parameters. The beauty of old domains is that they’ve already been recognized by search engines, making it easier for you to climb the rank. Links and various other SEO strategies may already be done with the website so you won’t be starting from scratch.
Of course, those are just few of the techniques used on how to select your best domain names. It’s important to note that domain names are just one aspect of building an excellent, profitable website. The content of said domain, the updates, the back links, and various other elements are also taken into account when it comes to ranking.